The pads were popping at the UCHealth Training Center as the Denver Broncos conducted their first day in full pads.
Unfortunately, an injury to key wide receiver Tim Patrick has everybody in Broncos Country holding their breath.
Denver Broncos lose two players to injury at practice
During the Broncos team period on Tuesday, Tim Patrick made a fantastic catch over the top of cornerback Essang Bassey.
After coming down with the catch, Patrick went down to the ground, immediately grabbing onto his knee.
The entire Broncos roster gathered around Patrick, offering him support as the medical staff carted him off the field.
Patrick will be having an MRI which will reveal the extent of the injury.
Brutal day at #Broncos practice: Both standout WR Tim Patrick and RB Damarea Crockett went down with apparent knee injuries and both are having MRIs. There is a fear, sources say, that both are significant.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 2, 2022
Earlier in the day, Broncos running back Damarea Crockett also exited practice with an apparent knee injury and is also undergoing an MRI.
As NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, the initial fear is that both injuries are significant.
UPDATE: MRI confirms that Patrick and Crockett both suffered season-ending torn ACL’s.
Who steps up if Tim Patrick misses time?
The Broncos’ depth at training camp features a variety of wide receivers who are vying to secure a spot on the 53-man roster.
After Patrick left practice, the offense continued to get their receivers involved with multiple reps featuring Trey Quinn, Kendall Hinton, Brandon Johnson, Travis Fulgham, and rookie standout Montrell Washington.
If Patrick were to miss any time, Denver could rely on a multitude of players to step up.
“Whenever you have these things happen, it’s about supporting the man because we are about the entire team,” Hackett said following Tuesday’s practice. “But at the same time, now flipping it out and going ‘hey, now everybody’s got to pick it up and somebody’s got to show up.”
For the Broncos, they’ll have to rely on their training camp depth as they await word on Patrick’s diagnosis.
Montrell Washington shines on Day 6
Broncos rookie receiver Montrell Washington continues to step up when called upon by the offense.
During Tuesday’s practice, Washington helped the Broncos offense win a two-minute move the ball period after hauling in a touchdown pass from Brett Rypien as time expired on the clock.
Washington celebrated in the endzone with a standing backflip. Shortly after the two-minute period, Washington would haul in another deep catch down the left sideline.
With the injury to Patrick and KJ Hamler easing his way back into the mix ahead of the regular season, Washington could establish himself as an important contributor on offense.
Broncos Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett alluded to the importance of versatility last week regarding the role of receivers in this offense.
“Again, it’s because we want them to be multiple,” Hackett said during the first week of training camp. “We don’t want just one guy to do one thing, we don’t want a one motion guy, we don’t want one outside guy. We want to be able to try to put them in as many different spots as possible and just kind of build all of their route trees. Whether it’s in the slot, whether it’s in the super tight, whether it’s out wide, whether it’s off play-action, whether it’s deep down the field. I think having all the guys that we’ve had—they’ve done a great job.”
Rookie cornerback stands out
The Broncos’ secondary depth features a variety of players who could play a big role in the defensive rotation or as potential starters.
Rookie cornerback Damarri Mathis had several impressive plays during Tuesday’s team period.
The Broncos offense tested Mathis downfield twice with Trey Quinn and Seth Williams, but Mathis did a tremendous job fitting in on the hip and knocking one pass away, and shielding the receiver on another.
As the preseason approaches, Mathis could see a significant amount of snaps as the Denver Broncos try to solidify their cornerback depth heading into the regular season.
Is there a punter competition going on?
During the Broncos’ special teams period, both punters Corliss Waitman and veteran Sam Martin each took turns booting the ball downfield.
Waitman’s first punt of the day boomed down the right side of the field, allowing time for the coverage unit to get down near the returner.
Martin’s first punt attempt of the day was blocked by Kendall Hinton who came off the edge at the last minute.
One important factor for the punt team to have better coverage success this season revolves around hangtime.
Waitman had the best hangtime of the day with one punt that hung in the air for 5.24 seconds, once again allowing the coverage team to converge.
Martin’s second punt attempt of the day flipped field position positively, pinning the offense inside of the five-yard line.
While the Broncos prepare for their first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 13, there could be some competition for the starting punter job under new special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes.
The Denver Broncos will continue with practice tomorrow at the UCHealth Training Center for Day 7 of Broncos Camp.